The Lord Who Played [Flemington #2]

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VI. Unexpected Occassion

Lady Darla Lockwood was smiling as this weekend will be the last week of her etiquette lesson with Madam Flemington. She will miss the old woman, believe it or not, for Madam Flemington was the only person that will not judge her harshly like the scandalmongers in the society if they knew what Darla has done.

She wished that they would keep in touch even after the lessons were done.

Darla walked to the townhouse as she was holding the parasol before she rapped at the door. The butler opened it for her, taking her parasol as well as her bonnet and gloves before she walked into the parlor and went to the drawing-room that she would occasionally be waiting for Madam Flemington.

"Mistress will be with you just at the moment," the butler said before she nodded. Then, he sent her some tea and biscuits whilst she was waiting for Lady Ashley. She poured herself a cup of tea with lemon before she was sipping the hot drink. She took a biscuit and nibbled on it before she was looking outside the window.

She heard footsteps as she was sipping on her tea. Then, it stopped before Darla was putting the teacup down and was about to greet Lady Ashley before she turned and saw someone else.

Someone that she was not expecting.

His brown hair was glistening under the morning sunlight that was streaming into the drawing-room before she was looking at the angular face that used to be rounded when they were little. So many years between them and Darla would not be going to the ball where he would be there. The angular shape of his face made his cheekbones higher and sharper that gave a certain sense of thinking by the maiden with a dirty mind.

He could cut fruits with it.

Then, Darla was focusing on the straight, aristocratic nose before her gaze settled on his lips. His sensual, full, and kissable lips. She never realizes that it was so tempting until she comported herself as she was standing up when James Flemington was coming into the drawing-room.

"Well, this is an unexpected visit, I suppose," his baritone, velvet voice filled in the room as Darla was schooling her facial expression so that she would not be giving James the upper hand to take her by surprise.

"And here I thought I would never have to face you in the morning, my lord. But alas, I am mistaken," Darla said before she curtsied. She might be speaking her mind very often but she still knew how to be polite and her manner did not escape her in the presence of a gentleman.

As much as she wanted to gut the young lord, she still knows how to restrain herself.

James smirked before he went to circle around the room, looking at nothing and everything, especially as he was focusing his sapphire orbs on her. Darla straightened her back as she was staring down at James. Then, the young lord chuckled lowly.

"It would seem that the years have not been graceful to you, my lady. My presumption stands corrected. You are still the ugliest lady I had the misfortune to meet in my life," James said before Darla was arching her eyebrow at him. She might be a lady but if Lord James Flemington was concerned, she never cared about her etiquette and manners.

He was her mortal enemy for goodness sake, so no, he will never ask her for her hands in marriage. And if the rumors from the academy were true, James would not be offering anyone anything anytime soon.

So, she was safe from him to get leg shackled.

"And here I thought you have been training to be charming with the fairer sex. I suppose the rumor was not true then if you manage to still rile anger from me then, my lord,"

"And what rumor have you heard if you don't mind me asking, my lady?" he said before he was sitting at the single divan before Darla was sitting on the sofa as well. She was pouring some tea for James. Even then, she remained to be polite.

"About your charming smile and eyes that you could get any fairer sex to warm your bed," Darla wanted to say that but instead, she said "Would you like to know now my lord? I can assure you that it was nothing of importance," she smiled before she was taking some biscuits and nibbling it again. James was narrowing his eyes at her before he took the teacup that she filled and sipped on it.

They never broke their gaze.

"And what are you doing here, if I was not being so bold? Surely you don't want to pest my grandmother about making my life miserable, are you?" he said before Darla stared at him. Madam Flemington was his grandmother? I thought the surname was familiar somehow, she thought before, as if summoned by the wind, Lady Ashley was coming to greet them in the drawing-room.

"Ah, I see that James has been keeping you company. I hope you don't mind, girl," Lady Ashley said before Darla stood up and smiled at the old woman.

"No, no. I don't mind at all, my lady. Lord James has been," she glanced at him, "charming as the rumors suggested. I thought I never believed it but here he was, proving to the bits of everything that was being said by the scandalmongers," Darla said before she was making her way toward Lady Ashley. Her skirts rustled against the carpet before she was following her to get away from James.

She still can sense that her mortal enemy was looking at her head but Darla kept her chin up before she was going to forget that encounter and will be returning to the academy as soon as possible after the lesson.

Perhaps Fate was cruel after all, making her see him again after all those years separated them. And it has not been kind for Darla felt something stirred inside her as she was gazing into James' sapphire orbs for the very first time when they were adults.

*****

James still cannot believe his eyes as he was looking at the retreating figure of one Lady Darla Lockwood. He has been wrong when he told her that the years have been unkind to her as she was still the ugliest lady in his life that he had met.

No, she was simply the most beautiful and elegant in her own way that made James' heart kicked wildly in his chest.

He has to blink quite often and looked away when he thought she was not aware of his attention. But Darla would always be watching. She was observant of her surroundings and she thought that James would spare another glance her way...

He shook his head before he took another biscuit and ate it. He heard some whispers between her and his grandmother in the other room before he heard a distinctive click showing that someone has left the room.

James went to look and it was the lavender gown that Darla wore that day before she was making her way to the bathing chambers. James smirked as he had another opportunity to rattle her senses. If he had to guess, she was taking some lessons that were rumored to be a requirement for a certain young woman from the academy.

He would not have guessed it was her.

In his four years at the academy, he never thought that Darla has enrolled there. When most ladies would be enrolling for their education when they were eight and ten, apparently Lady Darla Lockwood was too good to be admitted by then. She was admitted when she was six and ten.

Not everyone can achieve what she had.

Darla has come out of the bathing chambers as she was wiping her hands against her handkerchief. James was leaning against the walls of the hallway before she was focusing on him. Her amber eyes were focusing on him before they narrowed to slit.

Yup, she was wary of him alright.

"What are you doing here?" she hissed at him, so much unladylike in the polite company. And James has the nerve to chuckle at her expression. Well, he was not going to be the one that succumbed to this game of theirs that they have been playing when they were little.

"I was waiting for you to be done. Apparently, a lady can be having difficulties in the bathing chambers and I thought perhaps I would look out for you,"

Darla grimaced at him, "And since when did you think I would ever need help from someone like you?" she said before she was about to leave. James blocked her.

"Why are you being difficult?" James asked her, stepping in her way to block her exit.

"Why are you being incorrigible?" she asked before James smirked.

"If I don't know any better, you sound like you are irritated that you are not the one that I would use my charms on,"

"As if I would need such thing," Darla hissed before James tilted his head. Then, he smiled wickedly as an idea was forming inside his head.

"Shall we test that idea? If you think you are immune to my charms, perhaps I would not bother to use them at all," he said before Darla was snorting at him.

Yup, she did not consider him as a polite company alright if she was snorting away.

"And what do you suggest we do?" she asked before James shrugged.

"I don't know. Something that all the ladies would like from me. A hug...a perk on the hand...a kiss," he said before he noticed that Darla's eyes were widened.

He hit his mark.

"Don't tell me that you never been kissed before. It would not be a surprise if no one did for you are an ugly lady,"

Hurt was in her eyes before she blinked and they were vacant. Darla kept her chin up before she smirked. He blinked at the sudden change.

"If you think that you can melt my heart by your kiss, then I have no objection for I can assure you that my heart will not be swayed by you, my lord. So you might as well do it quickly before Madam Flemington was looking for me," she said as she was tilting her head as well. That action alone made her almost hypnotic to resist.

Comport yourself, man, James said before he smiled as he was moving his hand to take Darla's nape and pulled her closer.

"Challenge accepted," he said and kissed her delectable lips as it has been too long when they last met. And James was dying to know what it felt like against his own.
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